First Nations
Advisory Working
Group and Cultural
Reference Panel

2020 Canberra Medallion | For Our Country | Edition Office and Daniel Boyd | ACT | Photographer: Ben Hosking

First Nations Advisory Working Group and Cultural Reference Panel

Caring for Country practices, including architecture and place-shaping, have existed on this continent since time immemorial

At the Institute, we are committed to advancing understanding with First Nations peoples in recognition of this enduring and ongoing connection to these lands and waters.

We recognise a professional commitment to engage and act meaningfully through reciprocal partnership and relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This is with acknowledgement and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Countries, Cultures and Communities, and their ways of being, knowing and doing.

Advancing this professional commitment

Meaningful engagement

The Institute is working to advance this professional commitment and a greater shared understanding through our First Nations Advisory Working Group and Cultural Reference Panel.

The Working Group and Panel will scope, recommend and develop a range of actions that could be put in place to support and promote beneficial outcomes between First Nations peoples and the Institute including supporting the Institute to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

The Working Group with support from the Panel will also provide guidance on the inclusive involvement of First Nations peoples in both Architectural education and the Institute’s services, programs, activities and governance. As well as any other issue or activity the Working Group, with advice from the Panel, identifies should be under consideration by the Institute.

As work by the Group and the Panel develops key information will be outlined on this webpage including opportunities for the broader membership to provide input to the activities being undertaken.

Statement of recognition

The Annual General Meeting held on Tuesday 22 July 2020 included a membership vote on a number of changes to the Constitution of the Institute including the addition of a ‘Statement of Recognition’.

The First Nations Advisory Working Group and Cultural Reference Panel developed the Statement of Recognition which was adopted following the membership vote, with 96% of members supporting the constitutional changes.

The Statement of Recognition reads:

The Australian Institute of Architects recognises the unceded sovereign lands and rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of these lands and waters.

This recognition generates acknowledgement and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Countries, Cultures and Communities, and their ways of being, knowing and doing.

Caring for Country practices including architecture and place shaping have existed on this continent since time immemorial.

The Institute recognises a professional commitment to engage and act meaningfully through reciprocal partnership and relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Together we will support and develop the emergence of new possibilities for our shared future.

2020 Kevin Borland Award for Small Project Architecture | In Absence | Edition Office and Yhonnie Scarce | Victoria | Photographer: Ben Hosking

Get to know your Working Group and the Cultural Reference Panel

The members of the First Nations Advisory Working Group and Cultural Reference Panel are:

Working Group Co-Chairs

Sarah Lynn Rees (Palawa)

Sarah is a lecturer at Monash University and practices architecture at Jackson Clements Burrows Architects.

Professor Paul Memmott AO

Paul is a trans-disciplinary researcher and practitioner in the fields of architecture and anthropology.

Working Group Members

Callantha Brigham

Callantha Brigham is Manager of City Transformation at the City of Parramatta and a NSW Institute Chapter Councillor.

Dr Shaneen Fantin

Shaneen is co-Director of POD (People Oriented Design) and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Queensland and James Cook University.

Bradley Kerr (Ngugi/Nunukul)

Bradley is an architect working out of fjmt Studios Melbourne practice.

Louis Anderson Mokak (Djugun)

Louis is an interdisciplinary designer, who focuses on resetting the narrative and power dynamic between those who benefit from the ongoing colonisation of these lands, and those whose Indigenous sovereign rights be more fully exercised.

Alison Page (Walbanga/Wadi)

Alison is an award-winning designer and film producer whose career links indigenous stories and traditional knowledge with contemporary design.

Finn Pedersen

Finn is a co-founder and director of Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects and has an interest in culture, social justice, landscape and how architecture can affect and enhance the relationship between people and place.

Cultural Reference Panel Members

Carroll Go-Sam (Dyirrbal/Bama)

Carroll is an architectural graduate, lecturer and researcher in the School of Architecture, University of Queensland.

Jefa Greenaway (Wailwan/Kamilaroi)

Jefa is founding director of Greenaway Architects, a University of Melbourne senior academic and a regular design commentator on ABC Radio Melbourne.

Paul Herzich (Kaurna/Ngarrindjeri)

Paul is a multi-award winning Kaurna/Ngarrindjeri and German landscape architect and visual and public artist in Adelaide, South Australia.

Dillon Kombumerri (Yugembir)

Dillon is the Principal Architect for the Government Architect NSW.

Michael Mossman (Kuku Yalanji)
Michael is a lecturer, PhD candidate and researcher at the University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning.